Affordable land will spread enterprise
THE Northern regions are considered to have the highest percentage of informal employments.
Statistics reported in the Namibia Labour Force Survey 2016, the Kavango and Omusati regions boast a high rate of this form of employment, with 91.8% and 81.3%, respectively.
In a move to graduate this organised culture of entrepreneurship to formal SME status, the Development of Bank of Namibia (DBN) has embarked on financing north eastern Namibia, in particular, Rundu. Speaking on the new funding venture, DBN spokesperson, Jerome Mutumba, explained that with a large population of more than 85,000 and a robust entrepreneurial culture, a high concentration of villages surrounding Rundu, the opening of the DBN office will benefit development.
He added that this venture will also provide access to the broader populations of Kavango East and West and Zambezi is an opportune market for the SMEs.
Mutumba stated that a thriving retail and light industrial environment can be further nurtured with finance, adding that the bank projects that its finance for retail and commercial property will be in demand.
With regard to the housing sector, Mutumba says there is ongoing activity in the field of housing provision.
He, however, noted that this must be complemented with provision of affordable land.
“The population of the area is spread along the east-west axis of the Kavango, and stimulus for development of affordable land and associated housing projects will lead to the spread of enterprise. In this regard, the bank is open for applications for finance in unproclaimed areas, with the provision that project promoters provide guarantees, or that collateral in the form of fixed property be held outside of unproclaimed areas,” Mutumba said.
He added that the rapid population growth, and associated growth in private sector enterprises, creates the need for local authority infrastructure such as roads, sewage and water. He added that the bank can also provide finance for the establishment of municipal services, and can finance contractors who have received tenders or contracts.
Additional sectors with strong development potential identified by Mutumba are tourism and agricultural processing. Tourism enterprise development, particularly in and around Rundu, will bolster Namibia’s ability to offer a route into the Kavango Regions and Zambezi. By upgrading and adding new hospitality and accommodation facilities, Namibia can better market Rundu – and potentially Nkurenkuru, capital of Kavango West – not only with more hospitality and accommodation, but also with a break in the long distance between Etosha and Katima Mulilo. This, Mutumba says, improves potential for road-based tourism.
Agricultural processing and industry, Mutumba says, is one of the Bank’s emerging focuses. Adding value to agriculture makes the sector more sustainable, with benefits for those who use and remain on the land. This will not only alleviate urban migration, but will also provide incomes for youth and women, with potential graduation to the status of young entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs. The desired overall impact is also food security. The fertility of the area along the Kavango holds strong development potential for the broader national economy, and should be the beneficiary of development finance.
The Bank’s office in Rundu is located on Eugene Kakururu Street in the MVA office complex.